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Shaheen Introduces Energy Circuit Riders Program, Similar to Growing NH Effort

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The success of New Hampshire’s growing Energy Circuit Rider program has spurred U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to introduce legislation in Congress that would help communities in rural areas across the country take advantage of investments in energy efficiency and clean energy, her office announced Monday.

The Energy Circuit Riders Act would establish a new grant program within U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development to help eligible entities hire local, on-the-ground experts that travel to rural communities and provide assistance on projects that can help save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a news release. The legislation is modeled after New Hampshire’s Energy Circuit Rider program, run by Clean Energy NH, a Concord-based nonprofit.

“From the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to the Inflation Reduction Act, we’ve made historic investments in energy efficiency and clean energy and it’s critical that rural communities take advantage of these resources to the fullest extent,” Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, said in the release. “We’ve seen what these programs can do in the Granite State to lower costs for families and protect our environment—it’s time we make sure all of our communities benefit.”

The Energy Circuit Riders would work with local governments in rural areas across the country to provide assistance that includes energy planning, energy audits, grant writing, identifying federal, state, local and utility-based energy incentives and more.

The New Hampshire Energy Circuit Riders help municipalities plan, finance, and implement energy-saving upgrades to buildings and infrastructure, as well as clean energy technologies such as renewable energy or electric vehicle charging infrastructure, according to Clean Energy NH.

The infrastructure law and Inflation Reduction Act “are transformative investments in America’s transition to zero carbon technologies,” said Sam Evans-Brown, executive director of Clean Energy NH. “But if we want communities with fewer resources to receive these funds, they need help. Energy Circuit Riders can provide unbiased advice to communities, assist them in accessing federal grants and rebates, and deploy clean energy in local communities.”

The New Hampshire program began in Coos County in 2019 and has since expanded to the Seacoast and Monadnock regions, and is currently starting up in Sullivan County.

In four years, it has helped more than a dozen communities complete more than 30 energy efficiency and clean energy projects, Evans-Brown said in October. The communities have received more than $500,000 in incentives and grants, resulting in more than $2 million of investment in clean energy projects, he wrote in Green Energy Times.

Shaheen’s legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico; U.S. Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vermont; and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon. It’s also endorsed by the National Association of State Energy Officials and American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, the release said.

Source: Manchester Ink Link